|Matt.23:23||Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ye ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.|
|24||Ye blind guides! which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.|
Here we have the only occasion in the New Testament where Our Lord tells anyone to pay tithes. Those who teach that Christians must pay tithes refer to this verse as the proof that Our Lord Jesus Christ established the continuance of the Mosaic Law of Tithing for His Church. These modern TITHE-TEACHERS then go on to define TITHING for their congregations: 10% of everything you get.
These TITHE-TEACHERS are liars. The following facts will be established in this article.
|Deut.14:22||Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.|
The ancient Israelite calculated and paid his tithes only once per year, after the harvest. During the year, he bought and sold, exchanged his labour for other men's goods, and his goods for other men's labours; on none of this income did he pay any tithes. All year long, he and his family ate of the increase of the land and of the livestock. What he consumed in the course of the year was not recorded and added to his total harvest for the purpose of calculating his tithes. If he went fishing and caught ten fish in the middle of the year, he ate them all; he didn't save one of them to the end of the year in order to pay tithes on his fish. If he received some gold or silver in an inheritance, he was not required to pay tithes on his inheritance. It is simply ludicrous to propose that the Israelites were required to keep careful records of everything they got during the year, in order to make sure that they paid exactly ten percent of "everything they got" as a tithe.
he Israelite was not commanded to tithe on everything he obtained and used throughout the year, but only on his increase at the end of the year. The same thing is true with a business in that a certain amount of the income is consumed in maintaining the operation. It is notable how the modern tithe teachers expect the ordinary working man to fork over 10% of his every paycheck before his bills or his taxes are paid. While on the other hand, if there is some rich man in the church that owns a large and flourishing business, that rich man is allowed to pretend that a large portion of his total income is not subject to the same law. Let me point out to you how ridiculous is this distinction: The business owner puts his company truck in the company name, and makes his payments with a company check. He has his gasoline credit cards in the company name, and pays those bills with a company check. So also with his insurance. After all these major operational expenses are paid for, he then pays himself whatever he will in a payroll check made out to himself. He is only expected to pay tithes on that check.
The ordinary working man who must have a car to drive to work has all these same expenses to meet, but he is expected to pay tithes on his total income BEFORE he pays for his car, his gas, and his insurance!
The hypocrisy is obvious! Can't you see that the ordinary working man needs his car in order to conduct his own "business"? The only difference between the man who works for a paycheck and the man who owns his own company is a piece of paper. The working man pays a much higher percentage of his total income than the rich business owner, who has all sorts of "deductions" that he can calculate from his "personal" income. None of these tithe-teachers EVER demands that business owners pay tithes on their total business income, because they KNOW HOW FAR THEY CAN GO! It's hypocrisy, and oppression of the poorer people in the church!
Tithes were only calculated and paid once per year in the Hebrew nation. All year long the farmer ate of the produce of his land, and used that produce to run the business of his farm. At the end of the harvest, tithes were calculated. The rich farmer who employed 20 herdsmen and 20 field hands did not get to take any more "deductions" than the poor farmer who had no employees. The yearly tithe was a simple calculation against the increase of the field at harvest time and the total herd of livestock on hand. This calculation did not include certain capital expenditures which effectually reduced the amount of the tithe. For example: a farmer has 70 sheep, and 30 sheep are born during the year, so he now has 100 sheep: but he needs an ox to plow his fields, so he trades 30 sheep for one ox. At the end of the year, he only pays tithes on 70 sheep, and he gets to keep his ox. The tithe of the livestock was always calculated against the total herd on hand, but only once per year, and there was an exception made for the poor: If a man started off with 10 sheep; 3 sheep were born in the course of the year, and he ate 4 adult sheep, he now has only nine sheep. If he still had only nine sheep at the end of the year, he was not required to give one of those sheep to the Lord as a tithe, even though he ate 4 sheep (Lev.27:32). The Mosaic law of tithing was never 10% of everything you get.
|Num.18:26||Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a TENTH part of the tithe.|
|28||Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes which ye receive of the children of Israel, and ye shall give thereof the Lord's heave offering unto Aaron the priest.|
As a matter of fact, the priests of the Temple did not receive any tithes directly from the people at all. Only the Levites were entitled to receive tithes, and they paid a tithe of the tithe to the priests. Thus, the priests and the temple only received ONE TENTH of the tithes! The bulk of the support of the priests and the Temple came from the other offerings that were commanded under the law.
|Deut.14:23||And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.|
Who is eating the tithe? Not the Levite, not the priest! In Israel, every family was expected to make it to Jerusalem once per year to visit the Temple. Some of their tithes were used to defray the expenses of the trip and may have been used to make the other offerings that were commanded separately under the Law. They were eating and drinking from their own tithes! This is further confirmed in the verses that follow:
|Deut.14:24||And if the way be too long for thee, so that thou art not able to carry it; or if the place be too far from thee, which the Lord thy God shall choose to set His name there, when the Lord thy God hath blessed thee;|
|25||Then shalt thou turn it into money, and bind up the money in thine hand, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose:|
|26||And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.|
Oh! How I would love to take some time with verse 26, and talk about the wine and the strong drink that you were allowed to buy for yourself with the tithes, but we'll save that for another time. Suffice it to say, that the tithes were used to finance the family pilgrimage to Jerusalem once per year. Not only were they not paying tithes on "everything they got", but they were consuming some of the tithes themselves!
|Deut.14:27||And the Levite that is within thy gates; thou shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee.|
|28||At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shall lay it up within thy gates:|
|29||And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat, and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.|
Tithing in ancient Israel was income tax. Whatever they consumed in the course of the year did not have to be included in the calculation, and once every three years the ENTIRE tithe was given to the local Levites and the poor people in their own town. The Levites functioned as magistrates and school teachers in the villages in which they resided, so the tithe of the third year was given for the support of the local judiciary, and the funding of health, education, and welfare.
Only once every three years does it say that the ENTIRE tithe was given away, and in that case, NONE OF IT was brought to the Temple: but to the Levites and the poor people in their own towns. This is reiterated in Deut. 26:12 and Amos 4:4 (see also Tobit 1:7 in the Apocrypha). It is very difficult to come up with an exact set of figures on who got how much of the tithes in the end; but one thing is sure: the Temple in Jerusalem was not collecting 10% of the total income of the people, and at least 1/3 of the tithes were given to support education and poor people in their own community. How anyone with an honest mind can take the Mosaic Law of Tithing and come up with, "10 cents out of every dollar that passes through your hands belongs to the local church", eludes me. I conclude that they don't have honest minds.
The doctrine of tithing, as it is taught and received by many Christians today, is a LIE: it is a fabrication by clergymen, who fear that they will be unable to win the love and free hearted support of their congregations, and so, they have decided to scare their people into handing over the cash. It cannot be found in, or defended from the Law of Moses. It is not universally or fairly applied to all church members. You can bet that every tithe- teacher in Christendom has scoured the Bible to find support for their doctrine, and what they found did not favor their cause. They have ignored and misrepresented the Bible, and lied to you about this. Those who bear false witness in order to get your money are no less accountable than those who refuse to trust God with their money.
|2Cor.9:7||Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.|
Will somebody please show me where in the New Testament we can find any of the believers paying tithes, or any of the Apostles asking for tithes? The epistles are full of discussions about giving for the support of preachers, teachers, and the poor: but no where do any of the Apostles ask for tithes or remind anyone to pay tithes. And, how can it be said that a man is not giving of necessity if he is obeying a LAW of tithing? How can it be said that a man is not giving of necessity, if he is convinced that he will be cursed with poverty if he fails to pay those tithes? Certainly, if the Apostle Paul thought he was authorized and obliged to demand tithes, he would have brought it up in 1 Corinthians chapter nine, where he asserts that he has a right to receive financial support from those he preaches to! Why doesn't Paul remind them that they are obliged to pay those tithes, and that he has a right to receive those tithes?
As to the only time the New Testament records Our Lord telling anyone to pay tithes; if this was understood as a command to the Church,how come it is never reaffirmed by any of the Apostles? Certainly, this would have been a simple way to guarantee the income of the clergy. Jesus, in Matthew 23:34, is addressing the Pharisees, not His own disciples, and He calls the concern about tithing a gnat. And yet, to the tithe collectors of Apostate Christendom, the gnat IS the camel.
Ah! But I can hear the crowing! Someone out there is eager to remind me that Abraham paid tithes before the Law of Moses; so that makes it a law for The Church. Let's just take a look at that story:
|Heb.7:1||For this Melchisidec, King of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him;|
|2||To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all;. . .|
|4||Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.|
n Genesis chapter 14, Abraham goes out to rescue his nephew Lot, who along with many others has been kidnapped. The kidnappers had ransacked the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot lived, and were on their way back to their own cities. Abraham took 318 servants with him, (boy was he rich), and rescued Lot's family. He also took from the kidnappers all the loot they had obtained during their raids. After restoring the personal property of the residents of Sodom, he gave 10% of the loot to Melchisidec. This time, and this time only, are we ever told that Abraham pays tithes to anyone. There is no mention that he went home to round up 10% of the goods he had there, and anyone who could produce his own 318 man army was not poor. We are nowhere told that Abraham ever paid tithes on any of his income again. If Abraham establishes a law for Christians regarding tithing, then if you give away 10% of your next windfall, you have imitated Abraham. The purpose of Hebrews chapter 7 is not to establish a law of tithing, but to show how Jesus Christ was foreshadowed in symbols and figures throughout the Old Testament.
But then, someone will remember that Jacob said, Of all that Thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto Thee (Gen.28:22). We can presume from these words, that Jacob did, from that point, give the tenth to God: but to whom did he give it? How did he give it to God? There were no "clergymen" around to collect these tithes, and neither was there a Temple to bring them to. Perhaps Jacob gave these tithes to the poor; perhaps they were consumed in offerings by fire, but one thing is for sure: these tithes were not going into someone's "storehouse". Note: this was not a command to Jacob from God, but a vow made by Jacob to God. The antiquity of a practice does not make it a law for The Church, for circumcision also pre-dates The Law of Moses (John 7:22, Gal.5:2). I will in no way concede to THE LIE OF TITHING; but permit me to surmise here: that since our time, effort, our labor and our goods are all the practical equivalent of money; devoted Christians will always give MORE than 10% of all they have and all they get to God, in some way that God measures and recognizes.
I believe that those church members who take security in paying tithes would do well to consider these words of Our Lord Jesus Christ:
|Matt.6:1||Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.|
|2||Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.|
|3||But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.|
|4||That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, Himself shall reward thee openly.|
Now tell me if you can, how you can keep your left hand from knowing what your right hand is doing if you are being careful about that 10%? This is a clear command by Our Lord Jesus Christ to NOT KEEP TRACK of how generous we have been to church or charity. This also applies to keeping records of your giving for income tax purposes. If your church gives you that receipt at the end of the year for all your giving, you know, and they know, just how much you have given. That the Lord told the Pharisees to not neglect paying tithes is a reflection of His judgement on them: that they were not of His sheep. It was characteristic of Our Lord to encourage the self righteous in their works, and even to increase the requirement, so as to show them that they were not made righteous by these works.
To anyone who dares to ask the question: How much should I then give? There is only one answer: EVERYTHING. Jesus said:
|Luke.14:33||So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.|
In the 18th chapter of Luke, a rich man asks the Lord what he must do to inherit eternal life. The Lord tells him to keep the commandments. When this guy proposes to the Lord that he has already kept all the commandments (and this must include tithing), and still something is lacking; Jesus says to him: sell ALL that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me (Luke 18:22). The man can't handle this, and goes away feeling sorry for himself. In the matter of money, paying tithes was not enough for this man to be justified in relation to his money. To anyone who needs to ask, "How much must I give up?", the answer is as it has always been: sell ALL that thou hast.
The only pattern for how much to give in the New Testament is in the 5th chapter of the Book of Acts. There, they gave everything they had: and when Ananias and Sapphira claimed to have forsaken all, when in fact, they only gave a part, they were struck dead on the spot for lying to the Holy Ghost.
In the end, paying tithes is just an easy way to get around what it means to FORSAKE everything. Consider how Jesus commands all of His disciples to sell all and give it away:
|Luke.12:33||Sell that ye have, and give alms: provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.|
Can you tell me? How is it that professing Christians dare to think that if they have paid tithes that they have met the requirement for true discipleship? Is it not just a way to avoid facing up to what it finally means to forsake all?
I would like to take a moment here to make sure that you understand me. I do not go about counting anyone else's money. Just because a man has the power to spend a lot of money doesn't mean that he hasn't given it all up for Christ. Once a man has forsaken everything for Christ, the Lord may decide to make that man a steward over His money. A man who is continuously forsaking all may also be continuously prospered. This question: Have you given up everything for Christ? Can only be answered by you and Christ. I make no judgements in the matter based on how prosperous someone else is. It's none of my business to judge how much money the Lord gives another man. It's none of your business either. What is your business, is to settle up with Our Lord about your own life, and your own money. If you lie to yourself about what is required to be the Lord's disciple, He knows. SO DO YOU!
|Luke.17:10||So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.|
1. They are in a state of spiritual immaturity and ignorance. Some allowance must be made for those who feel compelled to pay tithes, for they are being subjected to a relentless rant of warnings and promises by those who wish to collect those tithes. If they fear God and tremble at His word (Isaiah 66:2), they will look into the Bible for themselves and see the truth sooner or later.
2. They think to pay God "His cut" so they can do what they like with the rest of their money. They also get to be approved by their peers.
3. They believe that paying tithes is like investing money in the bank or the stock market. They expect to be prospered by God for paying tithes. Often enough, they are prospered, so that the doctrine of prosperity through tithing appears credible.
Those that teach a doctrine of tithing for Christians will often hold out the promises of prosperity from the Old testament. The most popular verse that is used to substantiate the doctrine of tithing for prosperity is Malachi 3:10. Let's review this significant verse.
|Mal.3:10||Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.|
There's no doubt about it! This verse says that if you will faithfully pay your tithes that you will be prospered. The problem is, you are not allowed to pick and choose which Old Testament laws that you want to recieve and which you want to ignore. The same promises are attached to the other laws as well (Deut.12:28, 28:1- 6, Lev. 26:3-6).
As soon as you bind yourself to any promise that is connected with obedience to the Law, you have entered the covenant of the Law.
Yet these tithe teachers think to teach that you can ignore the whole law except to obey in one point! Tithing was part of the civil code that governed the nation of Israel. Only the Levites were allowed to collect the tithes. Tithing is not a part of the Ten Commandments, is no where commanded to The Church, and was neither taught nor practiced in Christendom until the the latter part of the 6th century. Tithing is a part of God's covenant with the Jews only.
We, who claim to be Christians, have a NEW COVENANT. For Christians, the old arrangement is gone. Jesus said, The Law and the prophets were until John (Luke 16:16). In other words the covenant of The Law, as it was affirmed by the prophets, was ended at the appearing of John the Baptist.
|Gal.5:3||Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.|
I know that tithe teachers and tithe payers will not SAY that they are justified by the law, and will insist that their faith is in Christ. However, the Apostle Paul has it that any attempt to be justified in any one point by the law is to fall from grace. Circumcision is the subject in Galatians chapter 5, but circumcision is only a part of that ONE LAW. The tithe payer attempts to justify himself in this one respect: that he has given to God "His cut", and so is justified by obedience to the law in this one matter. It's no different than those who insisted on being circumcised! They were not insisting on a wholesale return to the entire law of Moses; just this one point. The Apostle Paul says:
|Gal.5:3||For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.|
And so it is with the tithe payer who justifies his actions on the basis of the Old Covenant. He has FALLEN FROM GRACE. Hear this again:
|Gal.3:19||For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.|
You simply cannot sneak into the Old Testament and think to jerk one rule out of it to take advantage of. You are under the curse if you do, and you better perfectly perform the rest of the law as well, or you will end up cursed. This is no small matter to God. Listen to the Apostle Paul:
|Phil.3:8||Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.|
|9||And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:|
Whatever it is that you count as your righteousness, is that from which you take your confidence towards God. If you feel like you have settled the money question with God by paying tithes, you have come under the curse: you have your own righteousness. The true and obedient disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ is careful to not let his left hand know what his right hand doeth in matters of giving. He also knows that except a man forsake ALL that he hath, he CANNOT be Christ's disciple (Luke 14:33). He is not in any way entitled to the selfish and personal use of the rest of his money just because he paid God His "cut".
Let us consider the significance of Luke 17:10, where Our Lord tells us that after we have done all those things which are commanded to us, that we are to say that We are unprofitable servants. With this one statement alone, Our Lord has dispelled any illusions that we may have about God owing us something because we did what we thought was our duty in some small and singular matter. Any notion that God owes us prosperity in exchange for tithing is utterly repudiated by one statement from the Apostle Paul:
|Rom.11:35||Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?|
This statement not only condemns tithing for prosperity, but every other doctrine of "give to me and God will give to you" that the false prophets of Apostate Christendom love to propound. I have even heard them "prophesying" that certain amounts of money would come to those who call in pledges! Oh the abuses! The shame that is brought upon the name of Our Lord because of these greedy men and their wicked, lying teachings! Listen again to the Apostle Paul:
|1Tim.6:7||For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.|
|8||And having food and clothing, let us be therewith content.|
|9||But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.|
|10||For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.|
Now we know that With God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:24-26), and there will be men and women in heaven who were very wealthy when they "fell asleep in Jesus", but these people are the exception. It isn't very easy for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. I found it interesting that the Hebrew word for camel is the Aramaic word for ROPE. The oldest complete Bible in man's possession is the Aramaic Peshitta from 200 A.D. In this Bible, Jesus is saying: it is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Whether we are talking about a small gate in the wall of Jerusalem or the eye of a real needle, the meaning is the same.
You will remember that I said earlier, that many who pay tithes do seem to be rewarded by God for doing it. This I do not doubt, but consider this: (and I bet this will come as a surprize to most of you) eternal salvation and eternal life are NEVER offered in The Law of Moses as a reward for obeying that law. Every promise that offers a reward for obeying The Law of Moses addresses TEMPORAL security and prosperity ONLY. Jesus said, Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt.5:20). The word translated to exceed here does not mean "more than", but "better than". Jesus is the mediator of a BETTER covenant, which was established on BETTER promises (Heb.8:6); but the Law of Moses promises long life, good health, prosperity, and power over all enemies to those who will obey it (Deut.28:1-13) The promises of The New Testament include most of these things, but they are offered as a reward for FAITH, and THEY INCLUDE ETERNAL LIFE. The righteousness that imbues one with eternal life is of a different quality than that which was obtainable through some relative performance of The Law of Moses. Those who take their security from some relative performance of The Law of Moses have fallen from grace, and these will be ultimately judged according to how well they obeyed the Mosaic Law of Tithing, AND the other 612 laws. God uses these tithers to support his work in the earth, and he rewards them according to the Mosaic promise, but ultimately, He regards these people as strangers. That this is the case is illustrated by a peculiar incident in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He is asked about the temple tax.
|Matt.17:24||And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?p|
|25||he saith, Yes. and when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?|
|26||Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.|
|27||Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give it unto them, for me and thee.|
Now every reference Bible on the market today is going to tell you that the word rendered tribute here means half shekel, and will give you Exodus 30:13 & 38:26 as references to this practice. It was a head tax that was levied on the population for the support of the Temple. Jesus, in calling the priesthood the kings of the earth, is not flattering them. As soon as Our Lord arrived on the scene and they knew of Him, their offices were no longer the hierarchy of heaven. Our Lord explicitly stated that in His Church, none of the leaders should be like the kings of the earth (Luke 22:25-27).
By the words Then are the children free, Our Lord releases all of His disciples from the obligation to pay any kind of tax, tithe, or fixed amount on a regular basis towards the maintenance of His Kingdom.
This tribute, Our Lord says by agreeing with Peter, is taken from strangers. The term strangers in Hebrew parlance, always means those who are outside of God's covenant. And so it shall be fulfilled, that the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just (Proverbs 13:22).
Some of the tithe collectors of Apostate Christendom are so greedy for their gain, that they will fasten on the words lest we should offend them, that were spoken by Our Lord, as their last attempt to prove that you simply must PAY THOSE TITHES. I won't even let them get away with that. By saying lest we should offend them, Jesus is denying that the half-sheckel temple tax is binding on His disciples. Our Lord did not refuse to pay, but, He treats that temple-tax with contempt by telling Peter to go fishing, and the first fish Peter catches has the exact amount of money in it's mouth that was needed to pay the Temple Tax for both of them. There is also no record of Our Lord paying any tithes after the beginning of His public ministry. Sometimes the true disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ will have to make some temporary concession to the Scribes and Pharisees for the sake of appearances, but when this is necessary, the Lord will provide that money in such a way that it doesn't really cost you anything.
As a matter of fact, that the tithe teachers of Apostate Christendom will continue to hunt and poke for every and any excuse to obligate you to pay that tithe, indicates that they ARE the Pharisees of Matthew 23:23-24.
|Matt.23:1||Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples,|
|2||Saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat:|
|3||All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works for they say, and do not.|
I once was interested in joining a church that I had visited a few times, so I went to see the pastor. He presented me with a church creed that I was expected to read, agree with, and sign. This was many years ago, and I now believe that "creeds"; being supposedly summaries of the Christian faith, always add to or take away from The Word of God. At that time, though, I had more suspicions than convictions about many things. I had no trouble agreeing with everything in this church creed except the article that stated that "God has ordained, through the Holy Scriptures, that tithing is the duty of every Christian for the support of the work of the Church, and that this tithe was calculated against my pre-tax income". As humbly as I could, I begged for permission to present my case that tithing was not 10% of everything you get, and was not commanded to the church. The pastor was willing, so I showed him all that you have just reviewed in this article. Finally, he conceded that it was not possible to substantiate the doctrine of tithing in his church creed from the Bible; BUT, he asserted that the Lord told him that if anyone wanted to be a member of that church, they must agree to pay tithes. I agreed with him that he had the right to make that stipulation as the pastor. I also agreed to pay the tithes, but only if he would rewrite the article on tithing in the creed so that it plainly stated that the requirement of tithing for the church membership came to him by revelation, and not from the Holy Scriptures. He politely, but firmly, informed me that there were plenty of other churches in town, and that I would be happier somewhere else.
You see, since only the Levites were permitted to take tithes, and Moses was of the tribe of Levi, this pastor presumed to sit in Moses seat. In the time of Our Lord, there was only one "official" church house in Israel: the Temple in Jerusalem. The modern tithe-teacher makes his own church-house to be the practical equivalent of the Temple of God, and presumes to sit in Moses' seat. If I wish to attend his "temple", I am obliged to do whatsoever he bids me observe and do. But remember, God no longer dwells in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48). If you have obliged yourself to someone who sits in Moses' seat, then pay tithes you must. There is a certain expense to maintaining the building, the staff, and whatever else that is provided. They, the people of that church, have a right to expect a little help from anyone who wants to share in the use of their facilities. You have no right to take advantage of their programs, their building, their services, or their social functions unless you do something to help defray the cost. In the Medieval Catholic Church, and in many modern Jewish Synagogues, you "rent" your own seat or pew for so much per year. I find this practice less objectionable than the false doctrine of tithing that is used in Apostate Christendom today. The rent-a-pew idea is more honest, and does not establish a false doctrine. The big difference between the Pharisees of Ancient Israel and the Pharisees of Apostate Christendom is this:
|Acts.17:24||God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;p|
|25||Neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though He needed anything, seeing, He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things:|
The Apostle Paul, who preached this from Mars Hill in Athens, heard this spoken by the deacon Stephen before the Sanhedrin in Acts 7:48. This statement, The most high dwelleth not in Temples made with hands, got Stephen killed, for the religious leaders that had him on trial knew what such a statement could mean for their position and influence. Paul was a witness to Stephen's trial and execution, and was compelled to use this statement himself in his own ministry.
Before Our Lord came on the scene, the Temple was the physical center of God's authority in the earth. Jesus said to the Pharisees: Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Matt. 23:38). Since that time, God has no "temples made with hands" in the earth. You owe no allegiance to any church-house unless you are personally directed there by the Holy Spirit. You can leave or refuse to attend any time you want. The Lord no longer has need of a building, or stained glass windows, or marble alters for His glory. These are all things that you can have or not have as you are willing to pay for them. These decorations are for you, not for God.
Anyone who demands tithes has sat themselves down in Moses' seat, and the Lord tells us who it is that sits there: the Scribes and Pharisees. They are still straining out the gnat, and swallowing down the camel (Matt. 23:23-24). What makes them worse than the Pharisees of Our Lord's time is that they dare to claim that their church-house is the practical equivalent of the Jewish Temple! And besides, the house where Moses sat is now pronounced desolate (God is not there).
Finally, let us consider the only person in the Bible who demanded a 10% of everything you received: King Saul.
|1Sam.8:15||And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.|
|17||He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.|
Note that there is no discussion of increase in these verses. Saul will take 10% of everything you have, or get (and a lot more, too, read the whole chapter). Listen to what the Lord says about King Saul:
|1Sam.8:18||And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.|
And why is it that these people were willing to put up with all of King Saul's abuses?
|1Sam.8:7||And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee (Samuel), but they have rejected Me (God) that I should not reign over them.|
They will put up with their King Saul, and pay him his 10%, because it's easier to do that, then it is to grapple with these words of Jesus Christ: Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me (Luke 18:22).
|Luke.18:11||The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican:|
|12||I fast twice in the week, I GIVE TITHES OF ALL THAT I POSSESS.|
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See Chapter 17: THE PHARISEES AND THE SADDUCEES ARE STILL IN CHARGE
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